Confirm Your Sessions By SMS Text!

Calling to confirm a session or sales appointment dramatically increases the percentage of clients who actually show up. However, this is time-consuming and clients don’t enjoy being bothered with these types of calls.

What if you could easily confirm that your client is still planning to come with just a simple email or text message? What if you only need to call those clients who don’t confirm electronically via email or text? Think of the hours (and costs) you’d save! As a bonus, your clients appreciate not being “bugged” to simply acknowledge they plan to keep their appointment.

Using StudioPlus Mail and SMS texting working together gives you the advantage of sending your clients a link to confirm their sessions right on their phone! StudioPlus Mail allows you to send a confirmation link embedded in your emails. When your client clicks that link, it automatically confirms their session in your software. This reduces your confirmation list significantly, saving employee labor AND time. By combining this feature with SMS texting, harness both automatic confirmation and the speed of texting. People check texts instantly while not everyone checks incoming emails. Bang—you can enjoy the best of both worlds!

What’s amazing about this process is it’s simply “set it and forget it”. Once you’ve completed three steps, it’s totally automated. Let myStratus/Spectra do the heavy lifting for you!!

Interested? Okay, first, ensure you have both SMS Texting and StudioPlus Mail. Sign up using the links below:

StudioPlus Mail:
Click here to sign up for StudioPlus Mail

SMS Texting:
Click here to sign up for SMS Texting

Once you have both add-ons, follow these quick steps to set up your software to text confirmations.

Step 1 – Create the body of the SMS Text

Create a form letter as your text message. If you’ve never used the Form Letter Builder, check out this Help document for more information.

Make sure your Form Letter is set to the Session Filter type. Next, put your cursor at the spot in the body where you plan to insert the confirmation link. Go to the Insert > Data Field > Special Fields > Session Confirmation Link. This inserts the confirmation link into the body of the text. Here’s an example:

The Photo Studio

Hi [Client First Name], just a reminder of your photo session on [Session Date] [Session Time]. Please click the link to let us know that you’re still planning to come! [Session Confirmation Link]

Step 2 – Set up your confirmation settings

Go to Maintenance > Preferences > Company Preferences > Email tab (where you set up your StudioPlus Mail account). Scroll down to the Session Confirmation Emails section, which allows you to set up what will happen when your client clicks the link in the text.

Check the “Check Confirmed Checkbox” option to enable the confirmed checkbox on the session record to be checked when your client clicks the link. You may also set the session to a specific status after it’s confirmed–a great way to remove the session from your call list if you plan to call those clients who do not confirm electronically.

For example: advance the session to a session status like “Session Pending – Confirmed”. Then, just call your clients who have a normal “Session Pending” status. The confirmed clients will automatically be removed from your list. Finally, choose the landing page your client sees when they click the link in the text. You can use our default landing page, or you can create your own.

StudioPlus

Step 3 – Set up the automated Trigger to send the SMS Text (Professional Version Only)

With the Professional version, you possess the option to set an automatic trigger to send your confirmation text to your client. If you’ve never used triggers, check out this Help document for more information.

We recommend setting up this trigger as a Session Status trigger, found at Maintenance > Session > Session Status Triggers. Usually, this trigger is based on a Session Pending status. Below we’ve included recommendations for settings. Feel free to tweak them to fit your business!

StudioPlus

At this point, you’re ready to send the client text messages with confirmation links! Take advantage of this easy, automatic tool to reduce no shows, add yet another personal touch, and cut employee labor costs.

If you’d like to take this process even further, consider implementing the following ideas:
1) Create an HTML email that also contains a confirmation button.
2) Create another automated trigger to send the HTML email. Now, if you don’t have a mobile number for a client, they’ll also receive the option to confirm electronically.

Any questions, we’re here to help!

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Authorized Consultant is hosting a FREE training webinar!

We’re excited to report that one of our Authorized Independent StudioPlus Consultants, Stephanie Lesser, will be hosting an upcoming webinar!

This live webinar will cover the following topics:

  • Marketing Plans and Client Groups
  • How to use and manage Client Statuses effectively
  • Reporting
  • Birthday/Anniversary Triggers (NEW!)
  • Question Time
  • And more!

DATE: Tuesday, November 1, 2016

TIME: 2:00 – 3:00 PM Eastern time (approximately 45 minutes)

SPACE IS LIMTED TO 25 ATTENDEES.  If you’d like to attend, please call (561) 809-1031 or email Stephanie@ProSolutionsPlus.com.

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Free upgrades to Windows 10 until July 29!

If you’ve been putting off upgrading your systems to Windows 10, it’s time to get moving! Free upgrades from previous versions of Windows will end July 29th. After that it will cost $119 to upgrade to Windows 10 Home.

As a company that values innovation, we work hard to continually update our products, incorporating the latest advancements in software and technology. Why? It’s not that we’re just a bunch of geeks! We truly believe that providing you with the best solution for your business involves constant innovation. That’s why we encourage you to keep your software up-to-date, including your operating system. Windows 10 has proven to be a solid operating system with some great new tools, such as Cortana and Edge.

Here are a couple links you might find helpful:

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Authorized Consultant is hosting a seminar!

We are excited to announce that one of our Authorized Independent StudioPlus Consultants, Stephanie Lesser, will be hosting an upcoming training seminar!

Attend a 2-day training workshop and learn how to best utilize StudioPlus Spectra, myStratus, and InSpiredByYou for your studio – including all the latest 2016 features!

TRAINING DATES: Wednesday & Thursday, May 18th & 19th, 2016

TIME: 10 AM – 6 PM Pacific time

LOCATION: Henderson, NV (just outside of Las Vegas) If you’d like more info or to sign up, please contact Stephanie Lesser, Authorized Independent StudioPlus Software Consultant: (561) 809-1031 or Stephanie@ProSolutionsPlus.com.

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New 2016 Training Videos

For all you visual learners out there, the 2016 version is here and so are its training videos! You can now learn how to setup Web Forms, track Groupon Promotions, and even print directly.  The videos can all be found on our training videos page with the tag “New 2016” next to them. We hope you learn a lot from them!

Training Videos Page: Click here to go to the training videos page

Feel free to contact us with questions at Support@StudioPlusSoftware.com!

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FAQs – Online Booking

Here are answers to several questions we’ve heard since launching myStratus Online Booking.

Q: How do I get the booking page to appear right on my website?

Use the iframe option in your Online Booking Preferences and copy the code to your clipboard. It looks something like this:

<iframe src=”http://thestudioinc.mystratus.com/onlinebooking.aspx” scrolling=”no” frameBorder=”0″ width=”100%” style=”min-width:300px; min-height:3000px”>>Browser not compatible.</iframe>

To embed the booking page into your website, this iframe code needs to be inserted into the HTML code of your site. This isn’t difficult, but if you don’t know what HTML code is, you should probably have a web designer help you! If you know how to find/change the code, the first step is to decide where the booking iframe should go. We recommend creating a new page just for online booking. Then, make sure you’re editing the code and press Ctrl+V to paste it in.

Here’s what it looks like on my online booking test page using Dreamweaver.

Some more examples…

We’ve taken a quick peek at a couple common website providers to see how you would go about inserting the iframe code.

Note: We can’t guarantee the information in this section, but thought it might be helpful to get you started! Also, our tech support staff won’t be able to assist you with this part. Sorry! Use the links for more information or talk with your website provider’s support team if you need help.

SquareSpace

You’ll use a Code Block to contain the iframe. First, choose the page where you’d like online booking to appear or create a new page. Then open the page editor. Click an insert point and choose Code from the Block menu. Paste the iframe code into the code box and click Apply. https://support.squarespace.com/hc/en-us/articles/206543167-Using-the-Code-Block

Zenfolio

You’ll use the Embed tool to insert the iframe code. Click Embed on the editing toolbar and then use Ctrl+V to paste the code. We’re not Zenfolio experts, but it looks like you should be able to embed the iframe code on a custom page (http://www.zenfolio.com/z/help/support-center#/customer/portal/articles/1460120), in a blog post, as part of a custom header or footer, or in your blog welcome or sidebar.

WordPress

You cannot embed an iframe on a WordPress.com hosted website. The code will be stripped out for security reasons. Use the Link option for your online booking page instead. Any WordPress.org site should be compatible with the iframe option.

Q: Do you have a “Book Now” button?

Here’s a simple button you can use for your link. Just right-click on the image and save it to your computer.

Q: Can I send an email confirmation to the client?

Yes! That’s exactly what triggers are for! Here are a few triggers we recommend setting up to streamline your online booking process:

  • Email clients to confirm booked sessions. Use a Session Type Trigger based on the “Session Create Date” or a Session Status Trigger based on “Change to this Status.” Automatically attach a session confirmation PDF to these emails.
  • Email the photographer to let them know when a session is booked. Again, use a Session Type Trigger based on the “Session Create Date” or a Session Status Trigger based on “Change to this Status.” Automatically attach a photographer confirmation PDF to these emails.
  • Create tasks to take care of any necessary follow-up, such as contacting the client for payment, verifying client information, checking for duplicates, and so on. Assign the tasks to a specific person or a department.

If you don’t have triggers, try setting up a filter for Online Sessions Booked Today (or this week) and then regularly use the Communication Wizard to send the emails.

Q: How will I know when someone books a session?

The best way to be notified is by using triggers to email, text, and/or create tasks for you and your staff! Email the photographer, create a task for the scheduling department to verify information and check for new or duplicate clients, create a task for someone to follow up on an invoice requiring payment, and more. The most helpful triggers to consider would be Session Type, Session Status, and Invoice Status Triggers.

Don’t have triggers? There are several other ways to see when someone books a session.

  • Calendar – Booked sessions will automatically replace available time slots on the calendar.
  • Sessions Hub – These fields can help you track sessions booked online:
    • Online Booked – Will have a check mark if the session was booked online.
    • Online Booking Number – Only online booking sessions will have a booking number.
    • Booked By – This field is handy if the assigned default booker (chosen in your Online Booking Preferences) is responsible for following up on online bookings.
  • Invoices Hub – There are several invoice defaults in your Online Booking Preferences. If you create invoices during the online booking process, using some online-specific defaults will help you a lot! Depending on how you set things up, the following fields may be useful:
    • Invoice Description – Invoices created online are immediately recognizable if the description is something like “Booked Online.”
    • Invoice Status – Depending on what default status is assigned, this field could help sort and follow up on online invoices.
    • Invoice Classification – Use a unique classification, such as “OB Invoice,” and then create a filter to easily find these invoices.
    • Default Sales Rep – This field is handy if the assigned default sales rep is responsible for following up on these invoices.
  • Clients Hub – When someone creates a new online account, a new client is created in your database. Depending on the client defaults set up in your Online Booking Preferences, the following fields may be useful:
    • Client Status – Use an “Online Prospect” status for these clients. Have a staff member regularly check for these clients. They can verify the client information, look for duplicates, and update the status when done.
    • Client Lead Source – Use “Online Booking” as the default lead source.

Q: How can I let my clients know how to login?

Create a form letter or HTML email and include the client Online User Name and Online Password merge fields. Take this opportunity to create a special promotion and include a link to your booking page (along with the client’s login credentials). You’ll be surprised how many people will book online instead of picking up the phone!

Q: What are some ideas for creating and managing our time slots?

Here are some ways you can easily and effectively manage your time slots. First, go to Maintenance > Session > Scheduling Time Slots to open your time slot list. Now try these ideas:

  • Create one week of time slots that reflects a typical week at your studio. Don’t worry about days off right now.
  • Don’t fill the days too full. You don’t want your clients to think you’re not busy!
  • Decide how far into the future you will allow clients to book. Keep it short!
  • Use the Copy feature to copy your sample week forward to the next several weeks (or whatever time period you decided about future bookings).
  • Create a recurring appointment for one of your staff that reminds them to use the same tool to regularly create more time slots. For example, every Friday a staff member could add another week of time slots.
  • Once the slots have been created, you can go back and edit them. Add additional time slots or remove some on a day you’re taking off. You can edit, add, or remove time slots in the time slot list or right on the calendar.
  • Feel free to edit on the fly! If you have a day that fills up, you can always create a few more time slots to open up additional opportunities for online booking. The easiest way is right from the calendar!

 

That’s it for now! Remember, we love hearing from you. If you have suggestions for improving the Online Booking feature, please email us!

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Online Booking Video is Here!

Stratus and Spectra Users! The Online Booking Video has been finished. If any of you are interested in learning more about the new Online Booking feature, this is the video to watch. The video will start off with a short explanation of the online booking feature so you can learn what it can do. Then it will go into setup if you want to try it out yourself. As always, feel free to contact us with questions!

Stratus Online Booking Video:

http://www.studioplussoftware.com/training/sptv2-204.aspx

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Automate it!

Here’s a question for you…

In the last week, how much time have you (or your staff) spent making calls or sending emails to your clients? Reminding them of a session, letting them know their order is ready, sending them a link to their online gallery, verifying a yearbook pose…the list goes on and on!

And another…

How many times has an inquiry or client follow-up been neglected, either because someone forgot to do it or you simply ran out of time?

It’s time to let your software help you out! How? Start using triggers (in the Professional editions of Spectra and myStratus) to do this stuff for you! That way you can spend your time doing what only you can do…create beautiful images. We’ve got great tutorials to help you get started. Start with this training video.

FAQs

Q: I’ve heard about triggers but haven’t had time to figure them out. Aren’t they complicated?

A:  They’re not complicated, but it will take a little time to set them up. Why don’t you start with just one? Set up a session type trigger to send a “Thank You” email to clients that have booked a session. Click here to learn how.

Q: Doesn’t sending an automated message seem cold and impersonal?

A: Sure it could, but it doesn’t have to! Use the Form Letter Builder in the software to create emails and text messages that are warm and personal, including the client’s name and other information related to their session or order with merge fields. Click here to learn how to create form letters.

Need more help? Give us a call!

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Four Simple but Powerful Buttons

Hey Everyone!

I want to draw your attention to four little buttons that will take your client lists to the next level.

StudioPlus

Hopefully most of you have seen these buttons by now. They can be found on the toolbar of each hub. Using a combination of these buttons, you can turn your searches from a simple client list to a list of total sales and open balance per city excluding your main city. That report may sound complicated, but it can be done with a couple of clicks. This is what that report looks like…

StudioPlus

To create this report yourself, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Invoices hub and select a large group of invoice records. Using the Search By feature to search by a group will work.
  2. Click Column Chooser to add all the columns you want visible and that you want to filter on. I made sure to add Open Balance and Invoice Total.
  3. Click Filter the Data to turn on the grid filtering abilities. Notice the funnel icon that appears in each column header. Use this to further filter down the records that you want to include in your list. In my example, I’m excluding records where the City equals “Cambridge.”
  4. Click Group by Box to add a special Group By section to the top of the grid.  Now drag and drop any column header into this section and watch all your records get grouped by this column.  In my example, I’m grouping by the City column.
  5. Click Show Totals to automatically display the sum of each of the financial columns.  Additional totaling capabilities (e.g., Min, Max, Average) are available if you right-click on any column header.

I encourage everyone to play around with these buttons. And don’t just stop with this one idea, these buttons provide almost endless options for the data you are looking at.

If you have questions, feel free to contact us at Support@StudioPlusSoftware.com

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New 2015 Training Videos!

As we rapidly move toward the General Availability (GA) of Spectra 2015 and myStratus 2015, our team has been hard at work preparing written documentation and training videos to accompany all the great new features added in this update. Today, I’m thrilled to announce the publication of the following training videos.

If you are currently using the Preview Release of Spectra 2015 or myStratus Desktop 2015, or if you would simply like to learn more about these new features, we encourage you to watch and let us know what you think!

If you are interested in upgrading to the 2015 Preview Release, click here to learn more.

Enjoy the videos!

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